Naomi Osaka will be present absent at Wimbledon but present at the Olympics that world number two has confirmed
Two of tennis’s biggest names pulled out of Wimbledon on Wednesday, in what was a demoralising day for the tournament. First Rafael Nadal revealed that he will be taking the next couple of months off, and then it was Naomi Osaka’s turn to withdraw.
In Osaka’s case, the sport is still dealing with the aftermath of last month’s controversy over press conferences. She announced before the French Open that she would be skipping her media duties because they damaged her mental health, only for the four grand-slam events to respond with a hardline statement threatening her with suspension.
Osaka abandoned the French Open at that point, saying that she was going to take some time away from the sport, and on Wednesday a message arrived from her management agency confirming that she will not be returning to the court until the Tokyo Olympics.
According to the message, “Naomi … is taking some personal time with friends and family.” Osaka is both the world No2 and the highest-paid female athlete in any sport, although her record at Wimbledon is an undistinguished four wins and four losses, and she has never reached the second week.
In Nadal’s case, it sounded as though he is suffering more from physical than mental burnout after a draining clay-court season.
“It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discussing it with my team I understand that it is the right decision,” said Nadal in a statement. Nadal’s withdrawal from Wimbledon will leave world No1 Novak Djokovic as favourite for the title.